Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins

Happy Halloween! Hope your weekend was amazing. Mine, as always, was far too short. I happened to get some baking in, but of course didn't even come close to finishing (or starting) the projects I had hoped to. Stupid laundry and dirty floors getting in the way of me having an entirely bliissful and creative weekend!

ANYWAY...let's talk about these muffins. As I mentioned in my Fall Wishlist post, I had misplaced what I considered to be the best pumpkin muffin recipe ever. But, lo and behold, I have the bestest friend ever who managed to wrangle in up for me (Thanks, Nikki!).

In years past, I've made these muffins and topped them with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. But let's get real here, if you put frosting on a muffin, it really becomes a cupcake. Having seen these cream cheese filled muffins at Starbucks, I knew I needed to put the cinnamon cream cheese inside.

I experimented with 2 different fillings and about 5 million methods of actually getting the cream cheese into the muffin how I wanted, and I think I've finally found the perfect blend of prettiness (totally a word because I didn't just get the angry red zigzag lines under it after I typed it) and good consistency. I figured out the trick is making sure the cream cheese is super cold and pushed pretty far down into the muffin. Farther than you would think because it rises quite a bit during baking.

Basically, we start by whipping together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Next, we plop it on a piece of wax paper and do our best to get it in the shape of a log. Roll it up in the wax paper and stick it in the freezer for at least an hour.

Make that muffin batter. MMMM.

A little batter. A cream cheese disc. More batter. Oven time and eat!

Ok, here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins
{makes 2 dozen muffins}

Muffin Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups oil
3 eggs
15 oz. can pure pumpkin (1 3/4 cups)
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2tsp ginger
1 heaping tsp. salt
1 tsp.  cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Filling Ingredients: 
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl until combined. Place cream cheese mixture on wax paper and form into shape of a log. Roll up in wax paper, then wrap in aluminum foil for extra support. Place in freezer for 1-2 hours. Unwrap and use sharp knife to slice into 24 discs. Arrange on cutting board covered with wax paper and place back in freezer until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Grease muffins tins or line with paper cups. In medium bowl, mix together sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin. Set aside.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Fold in wet ingredients to dry and mix gently just by hand until combined (overmixing will result in tough muffins)

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Press cold cream cheese disc in center. Add more batter to fill muffin cups 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 17-21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Linking up to:
Home Stories A to Z
Funky Junk Interiors


Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY Magentic Save the Dates

Oh, how I love weddings. Planning my own was one of the most fun experiences ever- full of so much crafty goodness and creativity. With my love for weddings, I couldn't help but fall in love with the ADORABLE save the date I got in the mail recently from my very dear friend, Katie.

I loved them enough on their own, but when I found out that she made them at home, I about died.
Katie is the DIY queen. If only I had this blog last year when she threw her sister's bridal shower- you would have already known this. But let me tell you, it was impressive. Like I wanna punch you in the face because you're so darn creative impressive.

OK. Back to the save the dates. Once I got over the fact that she actually created these herself, I calmed down enough to ask her how she did it, and she was nice enough to give me (and you!) the details.

After selecting the perfect photos from her gorgeous Santa Barbara engagement session, she created the layout in Microsoft Publisher. You could also use Photoshop, or any other program that would allow you to manipulate photos and text easily. You'll want to fit as many save the dates on one page as possible. You can't see it in the photo because I used my amateur mad photoshop skills to hide it, but she included the URL to her wedding website and the bottom of the photo strip.

Next, she printed them out on magnetic paper. Apparently, you can find it easily at any major office supply store (who knew??). Staples sells them online here at $11.49/4 pack. Depending on how many you can fit on a page, you could save quite a bit compared to ordering magnetic save the dates from a professional printer.

Once printed, cut them out, stuff 'em in envelopes and you're ready mail! She did such a great job, huh? Can't wait until June 16th! The date is officially saved. {Probably an important thing to do, considering I'm a bridesmaid and all}

Oh, and when you're mailing them, you probably won't want to put them in those large blue metal mailboxes. Yeah, magnets stick to metal. Funny thing about that.

Linking up to:
funky junk interiors
Home Stories A to Z

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Bake

I came across this pin on pinterest and knew I had to make it. I love myself a good casserole, and I especially liked this one because it didn't require any canned soups or other highly processed ingredients.

It all starts with some fresh broccoli, chicken and a creamy cheesy sauce, topped off with a buttery cracker and poppy seed mix. Tell me that doesn't sound delicious.

This would be a great recipe to make ahead and then pop in the oven at dinner time.

Now, you can go get the original recipe here from Get off Your Butt and Bake. I did make a few minor changes, though, so my recipe is below. But let's be honest, the credit for this delicious recipe, really belongs to Jonna from the aforementioned (ooh. big word) blog.

Chicken Broccoli Bake
{serves 4-6}

3/4 lb fresh broccoli, blanched, or steamed for 2 minutes
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced
3 cups shredded cheese, divided (cheddar would be great, but I just used what I had on hand)
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided in half
1/4 cup. cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup COLD Water
1/3 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Cups milk
50 Ritz crackers (about 1 1/3 tubes), crushed
1 tbsp poppy seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 x 9 pan and layer chicken and broccoli in pan.

Combine corn starch, chicken broth, 1/3 cup of the melted butter, salt, pepper and milk in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until sauce has thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheese until melted. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli. Top with remaining cheese.

Mix together remaining 1/3 cup melted butter, poppy seeds and crushed crackers. Sprinkle over entire mixture.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

To reheat any leftovers, cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until warm. I would not recommend reheating in the microwave.

Linking up to:
funky junk interiors


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Words

Man, have I been cranky this week. 
For my sake and the sake of those around me who are probably sick of my crummy attitude, I am determined to turn that around.
{Buy it here from Wicked Paper Co.}

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Painted Pumpkins

Last week, Brandon and I were invited over to our friends Jami and James' house for an evening of pumpkin painting. In the past, I've always carved pumpkins, but frankly, that's a lot of work and I'm always just a little bit afraid that I'm going to cut off my finger.

Anyway, it was a great night full of good friends, hot cider, pumpkin beer, crockpot mac and cheese, and chocolate chip banana bread. Oh, and painting pumpkins of course.
{there are about a million things I love about this picture- from some of the awesome faces, to the fact that Nikki and I pretty much are dressed as twins.}

We had a lot of creativity going on in that room- from a Charlie Brown pumpkin, to a spider web one, they all turned out great. Inspired by these pumpkins from Madigan Made, I decided to do a little gold thumbtack bedazzling.

I simply freehand painted horizontal white stripes. If you wanted something a little more precise, this is where painters tape might come in handy. After making my way around once, I painted a second layer on each of the stripes. Then, I let it all dry slightly and started in with the thumbtacks. For this pumpkin, I used all but about 20 in the pack of 300 (tip: go buy them at the dollar store).

Here's the result:

Top view!

And here we are, next to the husband's Chargers pumpkin that I "ruined" by bedazzling it. If you ask me, I only improved its beauty and made it coordinate better with my stripey thumbtack creation.

Like it? I love it!

Linking up to:
Home Stories A to Z 
funky junk interiors

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Hair

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos 
As you may remember from this post on Friday, I got my hair cut this weekend.
Yes, I definitely took this self portrait in my car before work this morning.
Also, I got that shirt for $6 on clearance at gap yesterday. Score! 
Happy Monday!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles w/ Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Oh wow. These are good. Like really good. And the whipped cream is a must. I'm kind of on a pumpkin craze right now, so watch out. I think the fact that I know pumpkin is seasonal makes me want to get as much as I can in. Seriously, I grab a can of pumpkin pretty much every time I'm at the store. Don't judge me.

In my quest for a pumpkin waffle recipe, I cam across this one at a blog named solely for the pumpkin waffle. They called it the ultimate, so I figured I'd better give it a try. Leave it to me to change it though. I really wanted some whole wheat goodness in there, so this is my variation. It's a bit of work, but is well worth it.

We start with lots of yummy spices mixed into a delicious batter.

And some glorious whipped cream

Put em together and you've got autumn heaven for breakfast.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles
{Makes 6-8 standard or 4 Belgian waffles}
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp.nutmeg
1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, flours, baking powder, salt and spices in large bowl and whisk together well.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs yolks, milk, canned pumpkin and melted butter. Once well combined, add pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Mix lightly- lumps are ok.

In medium bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter.

Cook waffles on preheated waffle iron, set to desired temperature.Top with cinnamon whipped cream, recipe below.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
{Makes about 2 cups}
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Place medium bowl and mixer whisks in freezer for 5-10 minutes. This is especially important if your kitchen is rather warm.

Beat heavy cream on medium high speed until well-thickened. Don't beat too much though, or you'll end up with butter. Add in sugar and cinnamon and beat on low just until combined.
Linking up to:
Home Stories A to Z
Funky Junk Interiors

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Happening

So yes, this post is EXTREMELY late today. Why? Because I woke up late. Real life.

Anyway, it's happening. I'm chopping off my hair. It's been driving me crazy and I just need a change. Yes, this is kind of not the normal blog post, but sometimes the planned post goes out the window when you wake up an hour late.

This is my hair now (or 3 weeks ago when we were on vacation, if I'm being accurate)

These are my inspiration pics

I got the official husband seal of approval, so tomorrow I'll be salon-bound, ready for a big change. Adios, hair!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Love with Vintage Scales

My latest obsession is vintage kitchen scales. I want one. Like bad (Husband, are you listening??). I think they add a sweet touch of vintage beauty to a kitchen and frankly I'm just in love. Plus, imagine the adorable photos I could take using it as a prop!

 How great is this hanging grocery-style scale? And pretty much everything else about that kitchen too.

Or this countertop one tucked in with the canisters?
{Country Living via Decor de Provence }

Hello, fall! This one was a yard sale find from Walnut & Vine (link below). How come I don't find things this cool? Oh yeah, probably because I don't go yard sale-ing. Note to self: get my butt up on Saturday morning, there is gorgeous junk to be found!

I am so in love with this one it hurts. That color is perfection. I want it. Guess what? It's for sale on etsy! Unfortunately though, I'm on a bit of a spending unnecessary money hiatus, so this one just isn't in the cards at the moment. But it can be yours! See the link below photo to go buy it yourself.
{BUY it on etsy from yesterdis}

Here are some other etsy finds:
{buy it here}

{buy it here}

{buy it here}

{buy it here}

Maybe I'll get lucky and happen upon one while thrift store shopping. A girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Words

Yup, it's that time of the week again. Wednesday! You're half way through the week. Woo hoo! Today, these words are words I need to take to heart. Sometimes I just need to remember that I am not in control.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anniversary Gift: part two

If you're up on your reading of this blog, you know that one of the gifts I gave to Brandon for our anniversary was the book of letters. I knew I wanted to keep up with the traditional first year anniversary gift of paper. The plan was to take a portion of our ceremony and creatively write it out and frame it. Luckily, my awesome dad (Hi Dad!) still had our wedding ceremony all typed up and was able to email it on over. I waffled back and forth between using a few different pieces from our ceremony, but finally decided on our vows.

So, off to Michaels I went to wander the aisles. I was probably there for over an hour. That place just inspires me and gets my creative juices flowin. I probably changed my mind no less than ten times trying to figure our exactly how I would execute my plan, but I finally came home with these supplies is hand:

A quality black pen, acid free paper (I got two pieces knowing I'd probably mess the first one up), a rustic wood frame, a tiny open metal frame (found among scrapbook supplies), some aqua stamp ink and some letter stamps (I actually already had those at home) from the dollar bin. Frame included, I got all of the supplies for less than $20, thanks to items being on sale and 40 % off coupons.

How great is this ivory paper? It has a little bit of a sheen to it and some great texture.

Even if you're not interested in writing out wedding vows, you could easily translate this project to write out a favorite poem, saying, bible verse or song lyrics.

I started by cutting the paper to the size of my frame. My frame happened to be 8x10. Then, I put the paper in the frame without the glass on it, flipped it over so the front side was showing and lightly traced around the edge so I would know where I needed my writing to stop and still be visible in the frame. Then, I positioned the metal frame where I wanted it on the paper and lightly traced around the edge.

Next, I got to it and started lightly writing in pencil. If you need to, use a straight edge as your guide for the lettering. Once you have the spacing right, trace over the pencil with the black marker. If any pencil marks are visible, you'll want to erase those.

For me, there isn't really an exact science to getting the spacing on the lettering right. I just kind of eyeball it. And honestly, sometimes I eyeball it wrong. As predicted with my two piece of paper purchase, I messed up the first time. And I didn't realize it looked wrong until AFTER I wrote in ink. Oh, well.

Once the writing was complete, I positioned the metal frame and secured it on with glue dots. Then, I used the alphabet stamps to stamp "love." You could really pick any word, just make sure it's short enough to fit. The stamping will NOT be perfect, but just go with it. It's that slight handmade imperfection that makes this piece so special.

Once you have everything right, but the frame back together, step back and admire your handiwork. You're done! So simple, but so cute.

Linking up to: Home Stories A to Z

Monday, October 17, 2011

Simple Dollar Store Fall Wreath

Yup, that's right, we're getting all kinds of thrifty around here and making a wreath with only dollar store supplies. You'd be surprised what kind of goodness (and crap) you can get for a dollar.

Last weekend I decided to make a dollar store stop and see what my mind could dream up. I got lucky and found some pretty great stuff!

I started off with a simple willow wreath, some paper leaves with wire stems and some floral wire. I ended up not using the leaf doilies in the picture below, but I'm sure they'll get used for something soon. (please excuse the kind of awful photo)

This project is super duper easy. The leaves came in a package of ten, so I decided I would need five on each side of the wreath. I started from the bottom and worked up and out to the sides so the leaves would overlap and the entire wreath would have a balanced, symmetrical feel. Since the leaves have wire stems, all you need to do is weave the stems through the willow to secure.

Once all the leaves were on, I used the floral wire to make a bow. Floral wire is really easy to bend, so just go ahead and play around with it to make the shape you want. To make the ends of the bow loop the way I did, I just wrapped them around my finger a bit.

Next, I used the remaining floral wire to attach the bow to the wreath. Just wrap away. And that's it. You're done. Not bad for $3, huh?

Linking up to:
Home Stories A to Z
funky junk interiors
Beneath My Heart

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Yeah, I just made a reference to a David Bowie song in my post title. And yes, I totally googled "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes" to make sure it WAS in fact a David Bowie song. I hate being wrong.

Notice anything different? You may have noticed I changed some things up around here. New blog header, new background. No reason in particular, just needed a change. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Oh, and go like the love, lindsey page on facebook. All the cool kids are doing it. Click here.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Book of Letters

Let me start at the beginning. I read a book in 2008 that pretty much changed my life. The book was called When God Writes Your Love Story. It made me see my romantic life in a whole new light and opened my eyes up to the reality that my future husband was out there somewhere. The choices I was making that very day were choices that would one day impact this man. As a tanginble way of reminding myself of that, I had an idea to start a journal- a series of letters to my future unknown husband. (That "unknown" part is kinda funny, because I already knew Brandon, I just had no idea he'd become my husband!)

BUT...being the procrastinator I can be, I didn't do it. Brandon and I started dating and I remembered that journal. I had a feeling that he was the ONE, so I started writing. I remember agonizing over picking out the perfect journal- a manly, sturdy one that would stand the test of time.

I started it in mid-2009. My entries were pretty frequent at first, but trickled off just a bit in the last 2 years. I really wished I had written more. My original intention was to give Brandon the journal on our wedding day, but I didn't because I didn't feel like I had written enough.

The funny thing is that this journal has been sitting on our bookshelf for the past year. I never tried to hide it, but he just never picked it up. In our first year of marriage, I certainly didn't write as much as I would have liked to. I felt kind of like a failure and considered scrapping the whole things (yeah...sometimes I can be a little "all or nothing"). But you know what? The words that were in there from more than two years ago were still meaningful despite the fact that I didn't keep it up like I had intended.

I'm sad I didn't write in it the night of our engagement or on our wedding day. I mean, how cool would it be to look back on the giddiness that were those two occassions? But then I started thinking about the future. We have so much ahead of us- buying our first house, having our first baby, and just the everyday goodness of life, and that stuff is certainly worth capturing!

I've been keeping random mementos and writing down details about our life- details our memories might soon lose. Sometimes you think "I'll always remember this", but the older I get, the more I realize how the small details can fade (you don't even want to know how many times I've had to ask Brandon what our first dance song was! I know, I'm really bad). I don't really get too fancy with decorating it. I simply glue or tape things in. I like the simplicity of the photos, miscellaneous scraps and handwritten words.

The plan is that I'll continue writing and will give the book to Brandon to read each anniversary.

Want to start your own book? Just do it! It doesn't matter if you're single, newlywed, married for 2 years or 22. They will love it. And you will too.

Linking up to: Home Stories A to Z

Oh no! Not peanut butter!

Apparently we've just had the worst peanut harvest we've had in 30 years. So guess what? That beloved jar of salty creamy (or chunky) goodness is about to get a little more pricey. Peanut butter makers are said to be raising their wholesale prices 30-40% in the coming months. No bueno. With 90% of American homes consuming peanut butter, I think everyone will feel the crunch. Looks like that budget staple, might not be so budget anymore. (Find out more here). Guess I need to make a trip to Costco and stock up!

Speaking of peanut butter, does anyone else eat totally random things on their waffles? (This transition might seem unrelated right now, but just'll make sense in a second). I almost never eat them with butter and syrup like a normal person. Why? Who knows! Last weekend we made waffles and I had them with peanut butter and jelly.

Tell me that doesn't look and sound delicious. Because it seriously is.

I've been known to have a waffle or two with nutella, maybe throw some bananas on there. Nothing is really off limits for waffles if you ask me. My stepmom totally eats hers with vanilla yogurt (sounds weird, completely delicious). Please tell me we're not the only two weirdos eating non-butter and syrup waffles.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I want this!

Genius. I think I'm in love.

Want one? Want to buy ME one? (Kidding. But seriously.)Find it at sewtara on etsy.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

Sometimes you have a craving and it NEEDS to be satiated. And sometimes, if you're crazy like me, you crave things you've never actually eaten before. In my case, I was seriously craving lettuce wraps from PF Changs, except I wanted ones made with beef. Kind of off considering I could seriously go days on end without eating meat if it weren't for my husband :) But sometimes you just roll with it.
This recipe is by no means a copy cat- just my concoction that I came up with in the kitchen. Let me tell you, it turned out pretty tasty.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps
{Serves 4}
1 head iceburg lettuce
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloved garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 can water chestnuts, finely diced
3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce (I like trader joe's soyaki)

The most time consuming part of this recipe will be prepping all of your ingredients, so make sure to do that first to save your sanity. Carefully separate leaves from head of lettuce, wash and set aside on paper towel to dry.

Next, brown ground beef in large skillet. Once browned, drain most of the remaining fat and transfer ground beef to another bowl. Do not rinse out your skillet- you'll want that tiny amount of fat to cook the veggies in.

Add onion, garlic and ginger to skillet and cook over medium heat until onions are soft. Add in green onions, water chestnuts and all sauces. Cook over medium low for 3-4 minutes. Add in cooked ground beef and let the entire mixture simmer on low for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

 To serve, spoon mixture into your lettuce cups, roll up and enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

On 10.10.10 I married the most amazing man God could have ever given me. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful, caring, strong, loving man by my side.

Of course, I took a trip down memory lane and went through all our wedding photos. Don't you just reliving memories through photos?

I remember writing Brandon a letter in red ink and sending my bridesmaids to give it to him.

I remember the anticipation of the day.

I remember how much I poured into every detail from what I wore, to place cards to the guest book to the flowers...I could go on, but for the sake of brevity I won't.

I remember seeing Brandon as I walked down the aisle.

I remember how special it was to have my dad perform our ceremony.

I remember that first kiss.

The absolute joy of being man and wife.

Taking a million and one family/bridal party pictures.

And then finally getting to take some with my new husband.

I remember barely eating. And great toasts that made me laugh and cry.

And throwing bouquets and garters.

I remember dancing, dancing and more dancing.

What a perfect day. I can't believe it's already been a year. I also can't believe it's only been a year. Isn't life funny like that?